indian cinema heritage foundation

Jagdish Sethi

  • Born: 15 January, 1903 (Punjab)
  • Died: 12 June, 1969

Actor Jagdish Sethi was born 15 January, 1903 at Pind Dandan Khan (Campbellpore) in Punjab. After matriculation in 1920, he graduated from Lahore. He joined the film industry as an assistant cameraman in Punjab Film Company in 1928.
After going to Calcutta to work as an extra in New Theatres, he came to Bombay and worked in Alam Ara (1931). He went back to New Theatres in 1933 and worked in several films. 
He worked in around 85 films in his career made by various studios such as Imperial, Amar Movietone, Maiden Films, New Theatres, Laxmi Productions (belonging to L V Prasad), Janak Productions, and Filmistan.
Some of his films include India’s first talkie film Alam Ara,  Draupadi (1931), Shikari (1932), Anokha Prem (1934), Bhole Bhale (1936), Badi Bahen (1937), Dushman (1939), Jawani Ki Reet (1939), Ghar Ki Laaj (1941), Abroo (1943) in which he essayed the role of Dharam Dass, Maa Baap (1944), Chal Chal Re Naujawan (1944) in which he portrayed Thakur Jaipal Singh, Azaadi Ki Raah Par (1948), Pardesh (1950) in which he played Lala Mangaldas, Ilzaam (1954), Waris (1954) in which he played Rana Himmat Singh, Kanhaiya (1959), Batwara (1961), Awara Badal (1964), Rahul (1964), Sikandar-E-Azam (1965) in which he was the mentor of Greece, Mera Saaya (1966) in which he played the judge, and Hum Tum Aur Woh (1971). Known for his character roles, he also turned director, helming films Insaan (1952), Jaggu (1952) and Do Dil (1947). He also worked as screenwriter, story writer, and producer on Raat Ki Rani (1948) which was a critical success at the time. Jagdish was also a lyricist, and his songs such as Pyaar ki raah dikha duniya ko, Pyaari surato moh bhari murto, and Sitam the hazaar sukr ke were popular. Jagdish Sethi had a brother Sudershan Sethi, who was also an actor who worked in films like Jewel Thief (1967), Mera Gaon Mera Desh (1971), Gandhi (1982), and Bullet (1976). 
Fond of racing, cards and tennis, Jagdish Sethi was also a writer and published a book Hichkiyan - short stories on the film world.
Jagdish Sethi passed away on 12 June, 1969.